Holiday Assistance Program a Success

United Way of the New River Valley’s annual Toys from the Heart program was a huge success thanks to the generosity of local donors throughout the community. This year, with the help of local businesses, community members, and other non-profits, United Way served 185 families with Christmas assistance this holiday season. 364 children received toys through our Toys from the Heart program, and 500 people enjoyed a Christmas meal that included a turkey or ham with the assistance of the Holiday Meal Box program.

 Toys from the Heart is a Christmas assistance program that serves families with children under the age of 18. The program ensures that families experiencing financial difficulties receive assistance during the winter holidays.  Upon approval, families are able to shop for toys, sports equipment, school supplies, and personal items for their children.  The program also offers families a live Christmas tree and a dinner box that includes all the holiday essentials, including a turkey or ham! In addition to Toys from the Heart, United Way also has an emergency Christmas program for families experiencing severe circumstances. This program, Elves United, served 18 families, or 75 individuals with gifts, household items, and food this year. 

Marcela Jara, Programs Manager at United Way of the New River Valley, expressed her gratitude for the programs, “We truly appreciate everyone who contributed. These programs are about more than toys. They are about parent’s relief in knowing their community cares about their family when they experience a stressful year. They are about a child being able to enjoy Christmas, and the true meaning of the holiday season.”

Toys from the Heart is a collaborative effort of several local nonprofits. New River Community Action offices and United Way conducted eligibility screenings throughout the NRV while a member of Knights of Columbus maintained donated items and coordinated shopping efforts for participants.    

United Way of the New River Valley is extremely thankful for everyone who participated in these program; Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, Knights of Columbus, New River Community Action, Belmont Christian Church, VT Services, and many other local businesses, churches, and community members that dropped off donations.  Thank you for your giving spirit this holiday season, and for making this Christmas really special for local children and families throughout the New River Valley.